Don’t Just Rely on Your Employee Handbook for Onboarding Training

Are you using your employee handbook to train a group of new employees? It seems to make sense. After all, you should make sure new hires understand the nuts and bolts of what your company expects from them – how many sick days they are entitled to every year, how your company health plan works, and other basics.

It’s tempting for many organizations to think that they’re already providing good training because they give their employees thorough manuals. However, those handbooks are only one piece of the puzzle. They let employees know how to meet basic job requirements and, on another level, serve as a tool that helps a company document when those employees are not meeting expectations, and maybe even when they should be let go.

But problems can arise. Instead of training your people to deliver a powerful brand experience, you train them to simply “check boxes” off their to-do list. To understand the difference, consider the contrast between these two approaches to training for the same job.

Example: Training Food Service Workers to Make Sandwiches

Here are basic instructions like those you might find in an employee manual . . .

• Place the bread on the counter, cut it at a 35-degree angle, insert the customer’s selection of meat, cheese, and condiments, and serve.

And here is a set of instructions for that same task that includes instructions on delivering a strong brand experience . . .

• Remember that every sandwich you make is an opportunity to make a customer’s day. You’re making an artisan lunch and sending them off with a smile on their face. Your goal is to give them an experience so memorable that they can’t wait to come in again or tell a friend about their time with you. Make eye contact, comment on the freshness or flavor of the bread and ingredients, personalize the presentation by letting the customer add condiments and extras, and send the customer off with your best wishes for a happy or successful day.

The first is operations-based, and the other is experience-based. An employee can complete the first task with a blank stare and a bad attitude, but cannot complete the second set of instructions in that way.

A great brand experience begins with a training process that provides your people with the “what” (what we’re trying to accomplish), the “why” (why it’s important), and the “how” (how you get the job done). Once training is done, it is up to you to reinforce those principles on a regular basis.

About Evan Hackel

Evan Hackel, a 35-year franchising veteran, is a nationally recognized expert and speaker on franchising. Evan is founder and CEO of Ingage Consulting, and CEO of Tortal Training, a leading training development company. Evan is an active advisor in the C-Suite Network. He is also author of Ingaging Leadership Meets the Yourger Generation, and host of “Training Unleashed,” a podcast covering training for business. Contact him here, follow him at @ehackel, or call 781-820-7609.

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